So you are in college, what some may refer to as “The best years of your life.” You’re free and you’re growing up. However, you have done a lot of growing up already. Through all of the self-discovery there is often a tendency to overlook some of the lessons you have already learned. Try not to forget about these few things, because they’re gravely important.
1. Remember your self-respect.
Regardless of what it may seem like in your college bubble, college is not a free pass. You live with your decisions and with the way you allowed people to treat you. You learned at a young age how important it is to set your standards high. You learned what it meant to have respect for yourself and to love yourself for the prize that you truly are. Don’t let the decisions of the people around you take that away. You deserve to be above the crowd. Because when the music dies down in a musty basement or bar, and the darkness turns to light, all you will see is yourself. You want to like what you see. Love and respect yourself. Be with people who deserve you.
2. Remember your self-motivation.
I know that right now every little detail of what you need to do is outlined on a syllabus, but the truth of the matter is that life has no syllabus. No one is going to tell you exactly what you need to do and by what date in order to be successful. You have to create your own path and your own motivation. So many college students graduate and realize they have no plan constructed for their life and they don’t know where to turn without someone telling them which steps they need to take. You have to make your own path every day, and not when it starts feeling too late. Remain committed to personal growth. Remember your goals and constantly strive towards them.
3. Remember to ask for help.
Being in college often means getting more and more responsibility and ability to make decisions. Finally, no one is giving you curfews or grounding you if you skip class. Though you are older and wiser, you still need guidance. Everyone does. You still need to call your parents or talk to an adviser if you aren’t sure about something. You still need to go to office hours when you feel lost, or ask a friend to help get you through that unbearable Chemistry homework. Even if you live to be a hundred years old, you can never be “all knowing” and it will always be necessary to ask for help when you need it. Help others, and let them help you.
4. Remember to be kind.
Remember your manners for god’s sake. Say excuse me and please. Smile at people. It may be 8:00 in the morning and you may have a strong desire to hit anyone that looks at you due to your intense exhaustion, but just smile. Networking is your absolute ticket to success in this world and the little ways you impact people go a long way. You know how to be kind.
5. Remember to make an effort to learn.
This is going to sound dorky, but try to be a third grader again and get excited about school. Ask questions in class; you are there to learn. After all, your education is the cause of what will feel like eternal debt. You’re going to get a ton of bills flying at you in the future and wonder why the heck you sat in the back of class hung-over on Twitter instead of actually trying to get your money’s worth. If you have an opportunity to travel and learn, do it. Take every chance you can to learn. Knowledge is power, don’t pass it up.
6. Remember to be healthy.
This does not mean that french fries or mac and cheese at one in the morning are completely out of the picture. It just means that you want to take care of your body. I have learned from experience that without sleep and nutrition, you are literally going to kill yourself trying to balance the responsibility of college. Exercise will relieve your stress and make you feel great. Healthy foods will give you energy. Just because your mom isn’t there cooking you nice meals doesn’t mean you can’t manage it on your own. You may be young (and poor), but it’s important to try. Eat an apple instead of Ramen noodles, your body is begging you.
7. Remember to build real friendships.
You are going to have a lot of acquaintances. Somewhere between busy schedules and only seeing most people briefly at social events, it becomes easy to have friends that you don’t really know on a true personal level. This is a time to learn from your peers and grow as a person. It’s important to try to establish meaningful relationships with people you can trust and depend on. It takes effort, but it’s worth it. These can be the friends that help you plan your weddings with and invite you to cheer on their kids at graduation. These can be your lifelong, and irreplaceable friendships. You just has to make the effort to form them, and cherish them.
8. Remember to be true to yourself..
You know what you believe in. In college, you will see people around you who don’t stand for the same values as you do. Why should that matter? That doesn’t mean you compromise who you are. If you have faith, stand by it. If you’d rather drink a Sprite than a beer, go for it. If you believe in something, then by no means should you let it go. Be who you are and the people who should be in your life will love you for it.
9. Remember it doesn’t last forever.
This all being said, remember to cherish college for all that it is. One day, you will not be able to stay up all night watching movies with your friends for no reason. One day, it will be totally inappropriate to go out on a Tuesday night. One day, there aren’t going to be planned campus events every weekend that you could go to for free. Take advantage of the time you have. It may feel like it is going to last forever, but it isn’t. It is a time in your life to have fun, learn, make friends, and just be a college student. Get involved. Travel. Do all of the things you can only really do when you’re in college. Just remember who you are and stand by what is in your heart, and you will be absolutely unstoppable and blissfully happy.